As Dallas Stars fans ponder this year’s long offseason, much of the discussion circles back to which players will receive the few available protection spots for the upcoming NHL expansion draft.
Defender Stephen Johns is up for one of them, and he has competition – much of it potentially coming from his fellow blueliner and housemate, Jamie Oleksiak. Johns talked with Jasper Wilson of The Beaver County (PA) Times about the whirlwind that’s engulfed him in Dallas since his 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs debut:
“There (were) a lot of question marks in the air,” said Johns, a Wampum native. “To get that confidence coming into this year, I felt a lot more comfortable with my level of play and where I fit in the team.”
He also shared the struggles that hit him and the team during a star-crossed 2016-17, including the healthy scratches:
The experience was a foreign one for Johns. He couldn’t remember sitting much when he was able to play during his time in juniors, in college at Notre Dame and the past few seasons in the AHL.
“It’s tough to look yourself in the mirror sometimes and tell yourself you’ve got to be better,” Johns said. “But it’s what you’ve got to do.”
You can read more at Johns’ hometown paper. [The Beaver County Times]
Last night, in Stanley Cup Playoffs Stuff:
- Jaden Schwartz netted his second GWG of the first round, and the 3-1 victory gives the St. Louis Blues a 3-0 series over the Minnesota Wild. [St. Louis Game Time]
- Meanwhile, in other imminent sweeps, Jake Guentzel scored his first career hat trick (including the game-winner] as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in OT, 5-4. [Pensburgh]
- The Montreal Canadiens took a 2-1 series lead with a 3-1 defeat of the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden. [Blueshirt Banter]
- And the Edmonton Oilers ground out a victory against the San Jose Sharks with the help of a Zach Kassian game-winner and a Cam Talbot shutout, 1-0. [Copper & Blue]
Did the Pens score last night’s game-tying goal on a Rule 8.1 violation? Greg Wyshynski talks about the play that left CBJ defender Zach Werenski collapsed and bleeding on the ice, and why the whistle never came.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau abruptly left a postgame press conference during an apparently innocuous question. Is he just frustrated at a potential sweep, or was there method to his madness? [Puck Daddy]
Meanwhile, Stars announcer Jeff K has a nice hot cup of Schadenfreude for the morning commute.
Maj. Patrick Eaves is getting his due as a trade-deadline acquisition who’s delivered even more than anticipated.
And where do mid-season trades figure into the making of a Cup-winning team? Matt Larkin looks at factors like star power, possession game and team size to figure it out.
ICYMI: I studied Pens, Hawks and Kings, who've won seven of past eight Cups, to distill a formula for winning today https://t.co/nNet3ovcGz— Matt Larkin (@THNMattLarkin) April 13, 2017
As the ECHL’s 2017 Kelly Cup playoffs pick up steam, the Stars-affiliate Idaho Steelheads are tied 1-1 in their Mountain Division Semifinal series with the Colorado Eagles (Colorado Avalanche). Read more about how goalies Landon Bow and Branden Komm have helped the team get here. [Idaho Steelheads]
Meanwhile, Ben Wilson of the Kalamazoo Wings (Tampa Bay Lightning) drew 17 PIMs, a game misconduct, and (almost certainly) a long suspension after cross-checking fallen Toledo Walleye (Detroit Red Wings) defenseman Simon Denis seven (7) times. [Puck Daddy]
Here's the video: Kalamazoo's Ben Wilson with 7 Cross Checks to the back of Simon Denis. Wilson was ejected. Will be suspended. pic.twitter.com/UD7mRiIfet— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) April 16, 2017
Finally: Jason Maslakow – now meme-famous as Dart Guy – is the Toronto Maple Leafs fan other Leafs fans need. Enjoy.